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[Off The Record]
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Jah Wobble & Evan Parker
PASSAGE TO HADES
(30 HERTZ)

Actually, this is a heavenly affair, driven by former PiL member Wobbleís bass and manipulations of loops and the like, and by the floating melodies that Parker builds from elongated soprano- and tenor-sax tones. Itís also got plenty of creative fire in its belly, relying on slowly unwinding improvisations based on subtle changes in arpeggios and pedal notes to paint sonic landscapes.

Respected free-improviser Parker is a guest of Wobble and his band Deep Space, a name thatís a good description of the music they make in numbers like the sinuous title track, which at times recalls a Scottish piper adapting to life in a Middle Eastern snake charmerís den. " Giving Up the Ghost " starts with delicately shimmering tones and then, thanks to the circular breathing Parker applies to his sax lines, sounds like whales and bats communicating. Bright peeps of sound slice over a groove thatís hypnotic yet resists a straight time signature. " Full On " is the closest thing to a rocker, though it draws on Afro-pop funk and tribal countermelodies (played on goat horns) as well as electronic tics. And the snare-pumped " Finally Cracked It " uses delays to transform sax, flute, and keyboard into missives from another plane. This organic and more musicianly take on the trip-hop spirit has been the rage in Londonís underground clubs since Wobble started Deep Space two years ago. Itís a sound perfect for a chill room or a white-heat night.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI

Issue Date: May 10 - 16, 2001





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